Special Treats for Our Fur Friends

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Pet ownership isn’t just about having a dog or cat around the house. It’s about having a member of the family that you love and care about completely, just as you would children or extended family.

In return, pets offer unconditional love, companionship and a bit of humor along the way, so it’s only natural that one would want to provide the best care and safety possible for their fur baby! According to the American Pet Products Association, $60 billion dollars are spent each year keeping pets pampered, healthy and happy. Take a stroll down any pet store aisle and you’ll see the increased number of luxury products geared for your pets, from high-quality shampoo to all-natural dog kibble and creative toys. Americans aren’t just spending more on fancy toys and gluten-free dog or cat food, either. Pet industry trend reports highlight the growing demand for spa-like treatments at grooming salons, including specialty cuts and color, pedicures and even dog apparel.

Why spend that kind of money on your pet? For many owners, providing the best they can for their pets offers peace of mind and provides a way to show pets how much they mean to the family. Imagine spending a pampering day at the spa; that’s the type of experience pet owners want to provide for their pets!

While trends in pet grooming and accessories constantly evolve and change, here are just some of the most popular options when you want to give your pet some extra special treatment:

Pet Paw-dicures
Though it’s a funny play on words, a pedicure is actually an essential part of keeping your pet healthy. Dog nails must be trimmed regularly to avoid discomfort and to keep paw pads in good condition, but it’s also an uncomfortable part of grooming for some pets. A luxury pawdicure helps makes the experience more pleasurable for the dog by adding moisturizer, massage and even pet-formulated nail polish for some added style and color. Pet paw pads become dried and cracked over time, increasing the risk of debris buildup and pain in the cracks, so a hydrating lotion formula designed for pets is ideal to keep pads in good shape. Canine creams may be purchased at pet stores or added to many grooming packages.

Designer pet collars and accessories
Major fashion labels are jumping in on the trend of luxury pet products. As an owner who loves certain fashion brands, it makes perfect sense that you would want to outfit your pet in your favorite brands! There’s a variety of collars and leashes to choose from, including soft Italian leather, eco-friendly materials and even a cooling collar, which helps protect your pet against heat exhaustion by using ice to encourage evaporative cooling. Fashion brands such as Henri Bendel and Betsey Johnson sell stylish pet collars, while notable men’s fashion brand Brooks Brothers features tartan dog harnesses.

Holistic food and treats
For pet owners, the demand to shop at natural food stores is rapidly increasing, so it makes sense that sales for holistic pet food are also rising. Pet owners are looking at foods that have less filler and more nutritious, wholesome ingredients to provide a balanced diet for a longer, healthier life. Pet foods designed for specific conditions are also more popular; dry kibble that accommodates food allergies such as grain, gluten or poultry allergies, or formulations for medical conditions, may be recommended by a veterinarian. Notable luxury proteins, such as salmon, lamb and duck, are also finding their way into dog food formulas!

Self-Serve dog wash
Although some pet owners prefer to take their beloved pet to the spa, others prefer to bathe pets using self-serve dog washes, which are often located in various pet retailers and select groomers. Bathing your pet in a setting such as this provides ease, convenience and peace of mind. If your pet tends to be stressed out in certain situations or at the groomer’s, your presence can provide comfort for her and make it easier for you.

Specialty offerings
There is no limit to the type of services you might find for your pet. Doggy yoga is one niche that has developed a growing interest, as well as pet massage, Reiki treatments and even pet portrait photography outside of the bland setting of a retail store. Some owners are also turning to pet psychics after the death of a pet to obtain peace and closure after a heartbreaking ordeal. To accommodate the increased demand for luxury pet services, hotels and travel destinations are incorporating pet-friendly perks into packages, such as nightly treats, dog runs at hotels and mobile grooming.

As much as pet owners want to pamper pets and give them the best life possible, pet experts caution against subjecting a pet to situations that may cause stress. Follow the tone set by your pet and make sure they are truly enjoying the experience! ■

Sources: thebalance.com, petplace.com and pethealing.org.